As we bid adieu to 2015, it’s only fitting for the Native Insider to call out a few of the best native campaigns of 2015. Whether you abhor the word “native” and prefer to call it “branded content,” “sponsored content” or “brand journalism,” here are some highlights. See if you agree.
“Cocaineomics”/Netflix and The Wall Street Journal:
The ambitious “Cocaineomics” told the story behind the Medellín drug cartel: "How Cocaine Traffickers from Medellín Transformed the Multibillion Dollar Global Drug Trade." Netflix, which made a big splash in the fall of 2014 by partnering with The New York Times on a campaign for "Orange Is The New Black," this time teamed up with The Wall Street Journal. The campaign featured six different content components including an in-depth article, sophisticated motion graphics and even a Spanish language option. There was a table of contents and a timed quiz designed to test readers' knowledge of the drug trade. Video clips from the show "Narcos"made for a documentary feel. This campaign raised the bar even higher for bespoke native campaigns.
“People’s Voice”/Marriott Hotels Reddit Campaign:
Marriott teamed up with Reddit for a user-generated-content campaign designed to build buzz and impressions for the hotel chain’s virtual travel experience.
Consumers were asked to create content on what makes their communities special. Marriott chose 10 finalists from hundreds of entries. The Reddit community chose the winner, who won a trip to his or her hometown via the Teleporter virtual reality tool and also earned a real vacation. The campaign featured several homepage takeovers on Reddit and tons of interesting content posted in real time by the Marriott brand marketing team. This multifaceted campaign had all the elements that go into a successful native effort.
One of the most visceral native campaigns in 2015: UK-based QUIT was looking to shock smokers of all ages into giving up. One person dies every 6 seconds due to tobacco, according to the World Health Organization. The idea was pretty simple: Vine, with its six-second looping videos, was deemed the perfect medium to drive home this grim statistic. Three Vines were created, one for each major smoker demographic. Each offered a chilling, up-front demonstration of how often smoking kills. The campaign racked up 142,000 Vine likes, 73,000 revines, 11,300 vine followers and 19,000 tweet mentions. That all amounted to $423,661 in earned media.
Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit cover sponsored by Samsung:
Here’s a native campaign for the print medium: a magazine, in fact. Condé Nast’sin-house native ad unit, 23 Stories, produced a four-page cover unit for the food magazine that looked like a Samsung refrigerator that could be opened to show a fully-stocked fridge complete with food-storage and cooking tips. Bon Appétit's editors shared tips like how to buy the season's best tomatoes, just like the ones featured on the issue's main cover. The sponsored cover was striking and unusual and showed that print magazines aren’t dead -- yet.
“A race through time,” Forza and Mashable:
This campaign elegantly told the story of the only 10 racing games you needed to play growing up, so there was an element of nostalgia about it. The content takes the reader through classic games of the 1990s and 2000s. It’s an effective compilation that targeted a very specific audience of gaming enthusiasts and not just millennial men.